September 30, 2014

(PETERSBURG, Va.) – The Crater Health District (CHD) will receive approximately $436,000 annually for four years to reduce and prevent chronic disease and health disparities as part of a federal grant awarded to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).

“We are excited to be awarded this funding opportunity to enhance current community efforts that are focused on reducing health disparities by preventing and managing chronic diseases,” said Alton Hart, Jr., MD, MPH, Health Director of the Crater Health District.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) competed with numerous states and large cities and counties nationwide for this award. VDH will receive $2,664,121 annually through June 29, 2018, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and will in turn distribute the majority of grant money to five local public health districts to include the CHD.

The funds will be used to develop programs across the district in Dinwiddie, Greensville, Prince George, Sussex, and Surry counties and the cities of Emporia, Hopewell, and Petersburg. Working with locally-driven, diverse collaborative networks (referred to as Community Action Networks, or CANs), health districts will implement targeted activities that directly serve their communities. The focus will be on policy, system and environmental changes that address the prevention and control of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke and that reduce health disparities in these areas among our citizens in the CHD.

Working closely with organizations within the communities they serve, local health departments (LHD) can help identify and develop policies and programs that positively influence the social, physical, and economical conditions of their residents while improving and sustaining residents’ health over time. For example, LHDs and community partners may assess vending and cafeteria menu options and recommend food-purchasing policies that encourage healthier options. They may help develop community-wide walking or biking challenges to engage residents in physical activity events, or partner with health systems to identify patient populations experiencing health disparities. With these grant funds, LHDs and CANs may be able to link people with high blood pressure or other chronic diseases to lifestyle change or self-management programs and community resources.

“Working in partnership with public, private and nonprofit health and human service providers, local governments, schools, faith based community and others , we can make the Crater Health District a healthier place to live, learn, work and play. Together we create opportunities to help Virginians live longer, healthier lives. Our goal at VDH is to make Virginia the healthiest state in the nation” said Dr. Hart.

For more information on services offered by the health department and other wellness organizations in the area, visit